As one nuclear door closes so another nuclear door opens. First, the doors that are closing are in Japan and Germany. In Germany they have decided to decommission all nuclear plants after the Fukushima disaster. The German government feels much more comfortable without nuclear energy. They are comfortable that they will have sufficient supplies from fossil fuel and renewables. In Japan the government are very uncomfortable about nuclear energy. The effects of Fukushima are still being felt. The Dai-Ichi power plant is still leaking radiation and 40% of the fish caught near the plant are unfit for human consumption due to high levels of caesium being found in fish. The fact that it is still being found in fish indicates that contamination is continuing either from leakage or form contaminated sediment or from groundwater run off or a combination of all three factors.
However the good old United Kingdom can still be found to open the nuclear doors. The contract to build nuclear power plants at Wyfla and Oldbury has been transferred to Hitachi after the German company (E.On) that won the contract put the contract up for sale. David Cameron is very pleased, claiming this is a vote of confidence in the United Kingdom. It is rather odd to show confidence by building nuclear power stations. Perhaps the folk at Sellafield feel that their existing nuclear power plant is a vote of confidence in Cumbria, but I doubt it. Rather it is a way to hide nuclear power plants that no one wants to build in other places.
One thing is for sure; Britain needs the additional generating capacity, wherever it comes from. Ofgem claim that the UK may run out of power by 2015 because of lack of investment in generating capacity. The two nuclear power plants that Hitachi will build will not produce electricity until many years after 2015. Before the soil can be broken the UK authorities must first approve Hitachi’s boiling water reactor design.
So you can think that the United Kingdom is terribly advanced in its thinking about using nuclear power and Japan and Germany are terribly old-fashioned about the subject, or that Germany and japan are safer places than the United Kingdom because of the running down of nuclear power.
One thing has not yet been decided and perhaps it is the most important thing of all; no one yet knows where the nuclear radioactive waste will be stored. I can safely predict one thing; it will not be stored in any close proximity to the best guarded place in the country – the Houses of parliament.
You cannot avoid the conclusion that the Germans and Japanese companies are prepared to profit from nuclear power plants which their governments will not allow them to build them in their own countries.